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Liam St John takes pride in Perse School's run in NatWest Under-18 Vase

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Perse School winger Conor Fairhead. Picture: Mitchell-Armstrong Ltd
Perse School winger Conor Fairhead. Picture: Mitchell-Armstrong Ltd

Character shown in semi-final defeat to Trent College

The Perse Schools Alex Coles. Picture: Mitchell-Armstrong Ltd
The Perse Schools Alex Coles. Picture: Mitchell-Armstrong Ltd

Liam St John had great pride in his Perse School players after their NatWest Under-18 Vase run came to an end in the semi-finals with a 29-15 defeat to Trent College at Allianz Park.

The Perse were 21-3 down by half time, with George Laing landing their points through a penalty.

And they fell further adrift at the start of the second half. But the Perse showed great character to dominate the second half, and scored tries through Conor Fairhead and Sacha Abbasi, with Laing kicking one conversion.

“To get two tries back and get our crowd on their feet at the end was a satisfying end to the season, particularly with the number of lower sixth pupils on the field at that time – it bodes well for next season I feel,” he said.

So although they were unable to make the final, their run earned praise from Perse head of rugby St John.

“Obviously it’s a shame we couldn’t make it all the way to Twickenham, but there has been some superb performances this year,” he said.

“Beating The Leys twice was very satisfying for all involved as they’ve had a bit of a nudge on us at 1st XV the past couple of years.

“Our defensive showing against Langley was superb; I felt that game could have gone for another hour and they wouldn’t have breached our line.

“Winning away at Norwich in the cold and wet in what was our fourth game in 11 days.

“The show of running rugby we put on against Richard Hale in our final home game.

“Snatching a ‘victory’ with our away draw at St George’s when we’d played terrible rugby but with enormous heart and resolve to cling on.”

And St John believes that the journey in the competition will create lasting memories for the squad.

“Defeats are always hard to take but Paul [Gething, assistant coach] and I have really tried to emphasise to the boys that they’ve made memories and shared experiences that will last them a lifetime.

“It’s the stuff they’ll meet up and talk about over a beer in 10 years’ time and that camaraderie and friendship that comes from the game really is priceless.”

He added: “Hopefully it’s a run that has inspired the rest of the school too – there were a number of younger siblings there watching on the weekend as well as a lot of lower sixth playing, so fingers crossed it spurs our school rugby on in the future to repeat and hopefully better their feat!”

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